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31 March 2008

Some Fun - Driving Truisms

Since tomorrow is April Fool, I thought I would do a lighthearted little blog entry. In my time, I have done A LOT of driving, in a lot of places. While taking many of the cross country, and cross continental trips, I have happened upon some phenomenon that seem to be true no matter where you are. I am not alone in these observations, there have been a few other folks who have contributed to this lexicon of driving phenomenon.

As such, I have decided to finally write them down. Each phenomenon has the name of the person that first expressed the phenomenon (as is the right of any discoverer; after all, it's Bernoulli's Principle, not the pressure and velocity inter-related Principle). If you have any observations you'd like to name and share, feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you have observed.

Okay, on with the list (which is by no means exhaustive):

Prescott Convergence Factor: This only happens when you have cruise control engaged. You are in the right lane, being a conscientious and observant driver. As you are coming up on traffic that is ahead of you, there is other traffic in the left lane the has the perfect speed to cause you to have to disengage the cruise control to avoid hitting the guy in front of you, and you can't just go into the left lane because you would block the faster moving guy off. The only other option is to really speed up to pass the guy in front without blocking off the faster guy, but that is just as much a pain as disengaging the cruise control. Usually happens on long straight stretches of road.

Prescott Clusters: Those patches of an otherwise open highway where the traffic is all bunched up for no reason. Accompanied by (see below) Lundquist Gaps.

Lundquist Gaps: These are areas of the highways that are mysteriously devoid of any traffic until you encounter a Prescott Cluster.

Sipes Effect: This is an interesting phenomenon that happens on alternately curvy and straight roads. You get behind a car moving much slower than your desired speed. While you are on the part of the road that is too curvy to even begin to give you the hope of passing the slow mover, you note that there is no oncoming traffic. As soon as you get to a straight area or where there IS some passing margin, NOW there is all of a sudden a lot of oncoming traffic.

Ryan Stops: These are areas of the road where YOU would normally speed up (such as in a lane to merge with highway traffic), but for some reason, the person in front of you has decided to stop, particularly while you are craning your neck back to appraise the situation with the traffic you are about to merge with.

Bjorn's Law: You pass a gas station with the intent of hitting the next one, but the next one is further away than you comfortably think the remaining gas will take you!

Brooke's Law: When you exit to go to a gas station, the one with the best services or all the amenities you need is the one that is most difficult to reach. Generally involves numerous detours due to construction.

Megan's Demands: The type of fast food restaurant you want will not be available along the route you have planned.

Okay, so what do you have? Remember, this should be a fun exercise.

17 March 2008

Save Net Neutrality

Been doing a lot of stuff on Craigslist and ran across this link and though it would be worthy of posting.

Save the Net Now

14 March 2008

Atheism Quotes

Sorry, don't have a lot of time today, so I am just going to throw a bunch of quotes up that I like:

"It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science." [Darwin]

"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." [Voltaire]

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism." [Einstein]

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

"I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul.... No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life – our desire to go on living … our dread of coming to an end." [Edison]

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." [Lincoln]

"Religion is a byproduct of fear. For much of human history, it may have been a necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary? Isn't killing people in the name of God a pretty good definition of insanity?" [Arthur C. Clarke]

"Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies." [Thomas Jefferson]

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile." [Kurt Vonnegut]

"Religion is based . . . mainly on fear . . . fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. . . . My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race." [Bertrand Russell]

Yes, I have no patience nor need for any religion. While religion has many good aspects, I think that the bad of it far outweighs any good that may come from it. I just can't understand how religion claims to have the monopoly on morality and good behaviour when they are basically forced into this so called good behaviour out of fear? Isn't someone who behaves morally out of their own volition better? Just my thought for today!

12 March 2008

Being Green and Eating Organic

I'm not going to get into a discussion on Global Warming, if it's real, a cycle, or whatever. That's not the purpose of this post. I will say that an nice offshoot of the whole Global Warming phenomenon is that many more people are starting to act somewhat more responsible with energy consumption, which if nothing else cuts down our dependence on the $100+ a barrel oil. I'd like to see someone argue that is a bad thing... I have also noticed that with an increase in awareness of energy usage, a lot more folks also want to eat organically grown food. Again, considering some of the frightening chemicals put into our food supply, that is only a good thing as far as I can see as well.

So why am I blogging about this? Well, has anyone ever gone out and really tried to be more energy concious and eat organic? IT'S FUCKING EXPENSIVE!!!!! While it would be nice to have everyone make these sort of steps, it's just not in the slightest way feasible. Even making $100+K/year I can't really afford it for my small family! SO we're stuck with folks like Al Gore looking down their collective noses at us poor slobs because we're so irresponsible. (I use poor in a relative term as well as meaning unenlightened from their perspective.)

So what can be done about it? Not really sure myself except to encourage those businesses that try to make it affordable. And hope to see more businesses cashing in on the movement. Once the supply is there, perhaps we'll have more accessibility for the average citizen. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

02 March 2008

I'm on 60 Minutes!

(Click on the title to see the 60 Minutes segment.) I'm in the last few seconds, but I'm there! Basically it's the shot where there are three people in a row, and I'm the one in the middle that runs away and raises my hands. I suppose I could go into the whole politics and program management of the system, but I think that would violate a few policies. Suffice it to say that everyone that I talk to is excited by this thing, and we really want to get it out to the troops. I couldn't agree more!

If you are interested in learning more about the ADS, check out the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate web page about ADS. And the applications for this are way beyond military. I know I mentioned this system in my blog on Illegal Aliens if that is any indication.

Do you have any opinions on this system? Thoughts to share?